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U.S.A. is the “greatest country” for breast implants, prisoners and not much else

While National Football League players and other athletes took a knee and United States President Donald Trump took a pass on everything that’s really important in the past few days, I repeatedly read and heard that the United States of America is “the greatest country in the world.”

Excuse me? You mean “world” as in planet earth? Third rock from the sun? Terra firma?

Interesting.

I mean, the only people who believe the U.S. of A. is the cat’s meow when it comes to countries are the people who actually live in the self-anointed land of the free and home of the brave. The rest of us? Not so much.

No doubt the U.S. of A. has its endearing qualities. Off the top of my head, I can think of two—Jimmy Stewart movies and Patsy Cline tunes.

Americans talk like they invented and bottled freedom. And, to be sure, they have the freedom to choose one liar over another in their presidential election, Vlad (The Bad) Putin’s influence notwithstanding. They’re also free to take a knee, pack a sidearm, brew weak beer, make fun of Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live, root, root, root for the Cubbies, and give the Yankees the Bronx cheer. But celebrity justice, the world’s largest collection of Elvis impersonators, a scavenger (bald eagle) for a national symbol, and an addiction to war aren’t exactly what I’d call selling points.

Let’s be clear. I’m not here to bash America. Love the place. Had wonderful times there. Love the people, especially in the Midwest where the constituents remind me of good Canadian prairie stock. But that “greatest country in the world” stuff is a bit much. The U.S. of A. is the global great like Homer Simpson is a card-carrying member of the Mensa Society.

In its annual rankings of the best countries in the world, U.S. News and World Report lists Switzerland, Canada, the U.K., Germany, Japan and Sweden ahead of the United States.

  • Forbes magazine has the U.S. at No. 23 on its list of best countries to do business.

  • In the Freedom in the World rankings from Freedom House, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Canada, Iceland, U.K., Denmark, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Japan and Germany rate higher than Uncle Sam.

  • In a U.S. News and World Report survey of millennials, Canada was chosen the best country in the world. The U.S. was fifth.

  • Best country to live: Australia first and Canada second (America wasn’t in top five).

  • Best country for dating: Brazil came out on top (America wasn’t in top five).

  • Best country to start a career: China, Germany and then the U.S.

  • Best country to be an immigrant: Sweden, Canada, Switzerland, Australia, Germany, Norway. (U.S. seventh.)

  • Lifestyle9 rated the best countries in the world to live: Monoco is first, Canada fifth, the U.S.A. 11th.

  • Best quality of life in the world (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development): Norway, Australia, Denmark, Switzerland, Canada. The U.S. came in at ninth.

  • Best health care: Andorra, Iceland, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway (U.S. 35th).

I searched over, under, sideways and down (apologies to the Yardbirds) to find a source that listed the Republic of the United States as the “greatest country in the world” and I discovered the grand sum of zero. Only in select categories does the U.S. top any list—plastic surgery, breast implants, filthy rich people, death by violence, small arms imports/exports, and prisoners.

Oh, there’s one more: Taking a knee.

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Ol’ Maggie Court’s crazy ramblings a reminder that the LGBT collective still has plenty of work to do

Margaret Court says tennis “is full of lesbians.” As if that’s a bad thing.

patti dawn swansson

Moreover, ol’ Maggie informs us that there were a couple of devil lesbians on the professional tennis circuit back in her day and, get this, they would take young players to parties. Imagine that. Young women partying. With lesbians. The horrors.

Ol’ Maggie has been saying a whole lot of oddball things lately and, if we are to believe the preacher lady from the Land of Oz, civilization is caught in the grip of a global plot orchestrated by the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender collective. Those pesky gays are stealing the minds of our children, don’t you know?

“That’s what Hitler did, that’s what communism did—got the mind of children,” she advises us. “And it’s a whole plot in our nation and in the nations of the world to get the minds of the children.”

Hmmm. Kind of reminds me of what the Roman Catholic Church tried to do to me when I was a sprig.

The nuns, when not whacking us on the knuckles with a yardstick, would regale us with far-out tales of fantasy gardens, poisonous fruit, hell fires, voodoo antics like turning the rib of a man into a woman and, best of all, talking snakes in a magical tree. Their stories were better than anything we watched on The Wonderful World of Disney. But apparently Margaret Court believes all the Bible-based, brainwashing blarney that my receptive mind was force-fed, and it’s quite clear that the great Australian tennis champion is convinced that gay and (especially) transgender people are the spawn of Satan.

“That’s all the devil,” she says of transgender kids.

Ol’ Maggie Court

Poor, ol’ Maggie. There’s just no escaping conniving gay men and (especially) lesbians. We’re always shoving ourselves in her face, so to speak. Why, it’s gotten so bad that she can’t even travel hither and yon on Qantas anymore because the airline’s CEO, Alan Joyce, is a gay man who, not surprisingly, promotes same-sex marriage, which is, in the world according to Maggie, “alternative, unhealthy, unnatural.” The right to wed is “not theirs to take.”

“I believe marriage as a union between a man and a woman as stated in the Bible,” she harrumphs.

Well, it’s about your Bible, Maggie: One person’s truth is another’s fiction.

The prune-faced preacher lady has been battered fore and aft for her Bible-thumping bleatings, which included a disapproving and extremely tacky tsk-tsking of Aussie tennis pro Casey Dellacqua and her partner Amanda Judd following the birth of the lesbian couple’s second child, a joyous event that Court greeted with “sadness” because the newborn has two mamas and zero papas.

I’d rather not join the Maggie-bashing chorus, though, because I think she’s unwittingly done the gay community a small favor.

The hell, you say. How can that be so?

Well, to be clear, I find her drawing a parallel between the LGBT collective and a mass murderer, Adolph Hitler, repugnant. It is not only offensive in the extreme, it shows she clearly has lost both the plot and the argument. She appears to be totally off her nut. But…I also think ol’ Maggie has provided us with a reminder, albeit appalling—at the top of Pride Month, no less—that we still have work to do. The fight for acceptance and equality continues. It has not been won. We must keep society’s feet to the fire.

I suppose we really shouldn’t care what comes out of this nutter’s mouth, but Court is a legendary sportswoman. No one has matched her two dozen tennis Grand Slam singles titles. One of the playing venues at the Australian Open in Melbourne is named in her honor (for now). And she is a pastor (the argument could be made that she’s more of a cult leader given that she created her own church, the Victory Life Centre in Perth). Thus, her voice carries some degree of heft. If not, the pushback from gay, transgender and, indeed, straight people against her homo/transphobic tripe wouldn’t be so robust.

I’ll just say this about that: Freedom of speech is a beautiful thing, but so is the freedom to shut the hell up. Ol’ Maggie might want to give that a try.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m stepping out to party with some lesbian tennis players.